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Let's face it: some of the heroes in Final Fantasy 6 sucked. They were weak and flawed pretenders who were carried to victory by a few key allies.
Even if you love the entire FF6 cast, let's be honest: there are a few characters you're reluctant to put in your away team. Maybe you think they're weak. Maybe they creep you out. Maybe you just don't like them.
Here's a ranking of every playable character*, ordered by their usefulness in stopping the apocalypse.
*Temporary characters like Leo and Wedge were excluded, mainly because they're dead.
14) GauProfession: Homeless, feral child
Weaknesses: Completely sucks, probably smells terrible
Strengths: It's not his fault he completely sucks
Analysis: If I'm assembling a team of heroes to save the world, I'm not going to give a spot to a rabies-infected kid who spends his days imitating animals. That spot on the team could be better filled by, well, anyone. I'd pick a rolling chair with swords taped to the arms before I picked Gau.
It's not his fault, of course. He was abandoned by his dad in the Veldt, roughest stretch of wilderness in the known world - which may be the most depressing part of an already bleak game. He had zero percent chance of turning out normal. Gau deserves unqualified sympathy.
That being said: having a crappy childhood doesn't mean that you get to be on the team to save the world. That's way too much responsibility for an illiterate kid who says "Uwaoooo!" a lot. Given his penchant for hanging out in the engine room in the airship, it's only a matter of time before he falls in the gears and kills us all.
You have my sympathy, Gau. But if you're expecting anything other than a free ride to the orphanage, you're mistaken.
13) UmaroProfession: Yeti
Weaknesses: Partially mute, prone to random violence
Strengths: Untapped potential
Analysis: The first time we see Umaro, he tries to kill us for touching his bone sculpture or whatever the hell. The only reason we don't have to kill him is that Mog is his "boss." I don't want to know what that moogle did to Umaro to establish this kind of control over him but it seems to be enough to keep him in line.
Like Gau, Umaro is barely able to hold a conversation. Does he even know what's going on? Does he realize we're about to fight the world's most dangerous sorcerer or does he thinking we're going out for ice cream? It concerns me to bring someone with that limited of an intellect along with me. It sounds like a recipe for disaster.
On the other hand, he's got what NFL Draft experts would call "upside." He's the most physically gifted of all the characters in the game. Given the right mentoring, he could be an effective member of the team. Or maybe he'll just rip all of our arms off and build a house out of them for Mog.
12) SetzerProfession: Creeper
Weaknesses: Antisocial, compulsive gambler, unreliable, probable sex offender
Strengths: Owns airship
Analysis: You know that kid in high school that you hung out with solely because he has a car? Setzer is that kid.
The more I think about this guy, the more I hate him. For starters, let's think about how he's introduced to the team. He kidnaps Celes from the opera house, presumably so he can play with her slot machine. The only reason that the other characters don't arrest or kill him is that he's the only one that can fly his airship. Sounds like a lasting partnership!
The only reason Setzer agrees to this arrangement is that the party wins a coin toss. In other words, he has a psychotic obsession with gambling that rivals Two-Face's. If you still think he's a stable guy, let me point out that he flies around in a massive casino with no customers. My mental image of his life, pre-recruitment, is him playing high-stakes poker against himself while the airship crew looked on in concern.
You're a sick, sick man, Setzer. You're lucky you've got such a nice airship. As soon as I teach Mog to fly it, you're getting tossed over the railing.
11) MogProfession: Mascot
Weaknesses: Lack of focus, verbal tic (kupo!), clumsy dancer
Strengths: Lucrative merchandising opportunities, good for morale, will fly airship after I kill Setzer
Analysis: Square Enix intended Mog as a mascot for Final Fantasy 6. That's pretty much how I see him being used on my team, too. When everyone's feeling glum, we'll pass out the 40's of Old English and get Mog to dance the Snowman Rondo. If that doesn't cheer us up, nothing will.
His commitment to the "adorable mascot" shtick gets old, though. Stop dancing in battle and kill something. Or, if you're going to insist on dancing, don't fall over like a drunken plush toy.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he's part of the team. His weird servant-master relationship with Umaro resulted in our squad getting a bad-ass sasquatch. However, I can't help but wonder how much greater he'd be if he applied himself.
10) RelmProfession: Painter/brat
Weaknesses: Poor fashion sense, irritating
Strengths: Loads of self-confidence, good genes
Analysis: Relm has the right mindset for stopping the apocalypse. Even though she's a little kid in a really dangerous world, she never seems scared or worried. She's willing to take on all comers.
Still, Relm might be a little too confrontational. Being surrounded by stronger, bigger adults has given her a bit of a Napoleon Complex. She's always picking fights, even with teammates. Good thing she's not old enough to drink or she'd be starting bar brawls at every port.
It's almost like she thinks she's the star of the show. Sorry to break it to you, Relm, but this isn't Final Fantasy 6 1/2, a Disney film about a party of underachieving adventurers whipped into shape by a rambunctious kid. You're no leader. The only reason you're here is that Strago's too cheap to hire a sitter.
Her positives outweigh her negatives, though. She can become a decent mage if given enough attention. Her family connections to Strago and Shadow bring them to the team and ensure their long-term commitment. She might be a pain but she helps more than she hurts.
9) StragoProfession: Old
Weaknesses: Frail, sucks at magic, susceptible to brain washing
Strengths: Energetic for his age, patient enough to put up with Relm
Analysis: Honestly, I just feel bad for Strago. He's way too old to be zipping around the world on a dangerous quest. He looks like he's about to turn into dust at any moment. Probably not the guy I want to trust my life to.
His mind's not in mint condition, either. After the world is destroyed, you find him marching with Cult of Kefka members. C'mon, Strago. Couldn't you at least join a religion with a coherent belief structure?
He's far from the most useful companion, too. His Lore ability is like an obsolete, weaker version of Magic that got discontinued because it was giving people polio. I'm sure he's the best Lore practitioner alive but that's like saying you've got the fastest horsedrawn buggy in town.
I appreciate your enthusiasm, Strago, but I'm concerned that you're about to die. Just guard the airship while the people with functioning hips take care of business.
8) GogoProfession: Swiss Army Knife
Weaknesses: Limited social skills, more than likely a serial killer
Strengths: Master mimic, snappy dresser, nonchalant
Analysis: I don't know how Gogo ended up in the stomach of a giant beast. He seems really unfazed by it, though. I guess that shows some poise.
However, the situation raises a lot of questions. How long has he been there? What's he been doing for food? I'm not saying that he's been killing and eating people that get swallowed by Zone Eater, but that's exactly what I'm saying.
For whatever reason, though, Gogo decides to follow the party. His ability to mimic any character's abilities makes him a useful ally but I can't help but feel like he's going to chop off our faces and wear them someday.
7) TerraProfession: Fake main character
Weaknesses: Amnesia, chronic case of the sads, loves to ditch friends
Strengths: Half-Esper, wore really cool Magitek armor once
Analysis: Terra should've been the most important, powerful member of the cast. She never quite lived up to that responsibility, though.
Heroes can come in all shapes and sizes. Each one is different from the last. However, they all have one thing in common: they don't just randomly ghost on their friends. Terra does this twice.
Each time her friends track her down, it takes a lot of convincing before she'll join back up. C'mon, Terra, don't they teach persistence at Amnesia Magitek Soldier Academy?
Boohoo, your parents are dead. So what? Every other parent in the game is either dead or terrible. Suck it up. We've got work to do.
6) LockeProfession: Fake leading man
Weaknesses: Questionable priorities, attracted to dead people
Strengths: Expert thief, good theme song, dresses heroically
Analysis: Like Terra, Locke seems like he's going to be one of the most important characters in the game. That initial impression holds true throughout the first half of the game. Then the world gets torn apart.
Locke's response to Kefka's impending destruction of the world is to go treasure hunting. More specifically, he goes to find a treasure that will resurrect his dead girlfriend. This is annoying for several reasons:
5) CyanProfession: Swordy McStabStab
Weaknesses: Confusing accent, too uptight
Strengths: Master swordsman, great manners, superior moustache
Analysis: I never warmed up to Cyan. While we spend time literally journeying through his subconscious, I still don't feel like I know him. For example, is he supposed to be Japanese? If so, why does he have an Middle English accent and a French last name? Maybe I'd have answers if he were a bit more personable.
Still, I respect the guy. He endures the worst hardships out of any character, losing his child and wife in an unnecessary war. It takes him some time to work through this grief but he manages to emerge stronger, literally and figuratively.
You don't need to be friends with every teammate. Sometimes it's enough for them to do their job and do it well. In a messed-up world, Cyan manages to be the consummate professional.
4) ShadowProfession: Deadbeat dad
Weaknesses: Anti-social loner
Strengths: Very bad at being anti-social loner
Analysis: Shadow is introduced as a loner mercenary who will "slit his mama's throat for a nickel." He tries to play that role in the early part of the game, only helping the player if they pay him. However, he's far from a hired gun.
Time after time, he saves the other party members without any financial motive. He helps Sabin make the trip to Narshe. Then he saves the group from a burning building in Thamasa. This pales in comparison to his third and final rescue, in which he distracts Kefka so that everyone else can escape the Floating Continent.
I think it's fantastic that the game lets players decide whether Shadow survives the Floating Continent. Will you wait for him to catch up? Or will you abandon him and prove that you were the dick all along, not him?
Shadow puts up a tough guy front but he sacrifices himself over and over to help the group. On top of that, he's a deadly ninja with an equally deadly dog. What else can you ask of the guy?
3) CelesProfession: Unexpected heroine
Weaknesses: Damsel-in-distress, dresses like aerobics instructor
Strengths: Grows out of her damsel-in-distress phase, musical talent
Analysis: Celes has maybe the most interesting character arc out of the entire cast. At the start of the game, she comes off as a princess. First Locke has to rescue her from Imperial troops. Then she dresses up like an opera singer and performs a full scene to bait Setzer into kidnapping her. We're lead to believe she's this mighty general but she didn't give me that vibe. She never seemed in control of the situation.
The change comes when Kefka rips the world apart. She finds herself living on some desolate island with banana-suit scientist Cid. She's so distraught when he dies that she decides to throw herself off a cliff. When she survives the fall, she decides to keep living and find her friends.
I'm still blown away by this plot twist. Celes transforms from a helpless supporting character to a key member of team. Kefka might have succeeded in destroying the planet if she hadn't decided to leave her island.
Celes loses some points for her slow start. There's no denying that she came through in the clutch, though. Every team needs someone like that.
2) SabinProfession: Meathead
Weaknesses: Overzealous, not a "big picture" kind of guy
Strengths: Skilled martial artist, great attitude, owns the world's only pair of sweatpants
Analysis: If Final Fantasy 6's cast was a high school football team, Sabin would be the one who insists everyone puts their hands in before the start of the game. Then he yells "LET'S DO THIS", headbutts his locker, and sits out the first quarter with a mild concussion.
Sabin's the first person recruited by Celes after Kefka destroys the world. He's the easiest person to enlist, too. The conversation goes something like this:
CELES: Hey, let's find all of our friends and kill that guy that destroyed the world!
Sabin doesn't seem to be much of a leader. It's hard to imagine him rounding up his friends if Celes hadn't showed up. However, he's a great friend to have at your side. If I were building a team to save the world, he'd be the first guy I'd track down, too.
1) EdgarProfession: Guy who's good at everything
Weaknesses: Obsessed with poon
Strengths: Tech whiz, has entire kingdom at his disposal, chainsaw, chainsaw, chainsaw
Analysis: Edgar is basically the Tony Stark of Final Fantasy 6. He's a ladies' man with vast resources that he uses to build fantastic gadgets. Edgar then uses these gadgets to great effect on the battlefield. He's running around with a chainsaw while everyone else is using swords and shields.
His womanizing could be a distraction. However, he rarely gets carried away with it. Unlike Setzer, he never runs off to kidnap random women. In fact, Edgar barely commits to his ladies' man persona. He hit on Terra for less than a minute. The man knows when to focus on business.
Edgar is so powerful and so rich that I'm almost surprised he's a good guy. I mean, crap, he owns a castle that burrows underground. That sounds like the lair of a James Bond lair. Are you sure you don't want to try and take over the world, Edgar?
I'm really glad that Edgar's on my team. He seems a little too good to be true but when you're trying to save the world, you need all the help you can get.